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What to Do if You are Laid Off

What to Do if You are Laid Off

Many companies go for downsizing to cut down their expenditure and improve efficiency. This practice is surely beneficial for the employer, but can be very stressful for a dismissed employee. Dealing with a layoff in an appropriate manner is essential and this article is written to give insights on what to do once you are handed a pink slip.
Priyanka Kosta Sonkushre
Being laid off is the worst nightmare of any employee. The global financial scenario has triggered many organizations to take tough decisions and consider downsizing for the betterment of the company. The reasons for downsizing can be significant enough for a company to take such a decision, but it definitely affects dismissed employees in a big way. As soon as the company's decision of downsizing reaches the employees, they fear being handed over a pink slip and do not know what to do. It is quite obvious to feel depressed, but this must not let you lose your confidence. Getting laid off is not the end of life and a person can emerge as a winner once again with sheer planning and self-confidence.

To-Do List After Being Laid Off

Apply for Unemployment Insurance
The first thing you should do is to apply for an unemployment insurance. Many people feel ashamed of applying for it but this should not be the case. It was the company's decision to downsize and you were not fired. So, do not hesitate and apply for it. Every state has set eligibility criteria which is available on the Department of Labor Statistics website. Never delay this task because it takes a few weeks to start-up. It is true that the amount you get through insurance will not meet your salary, but even a small amount goes a long way during financial crisis.

Look for Reason Behind the Layoff
Self-assessment is the key to identify your shortcomings, if there were any. Organizations set criteria for employee layoffs according to which they list out employees for the same. Think, if you were missing something they were looking for, while deciding on the employees to be laid off. This will help you access your abilities and improve on your shortcomings.

Analyze the Situation
If you have a family, it's time to analyze and plan your expenses. Think, whether your spouse's income will be sufficient for the family or not. See, if you have an emergency fund and investments to provide you liquidity. If not, look for ways to arrange money if the need arises.

Update Your Resume
Start looking for a new job. The first step would be to update your resume which was lying around, as you had a job before. But now that you don't have one, update it so as to make it more appealing to prospective employers. Upload the updated resume in employment portals and websites and look for a suitable job for yourself.

Expand Your Network
Networking is very important in such situations. Talk to your friends, colleagues, and references and tell them that you are looking for a job. They might have a vacancy in their company which you can probably fill. Many jobs need specific references and if you have a strong reference, you might get lucky!

Acquire New Skills
It's free-time which must be utilized in a constructive way. Rather than spending the time feeling sad, it is better to learn new skills that can benefit you in getting a new job. A new skill will add to your resume and open new avenues for you.

Search for Alternate Means of Earning
Till you get a permanent job, find alternative means of income. Many fields like writing, software, data entry, and accounting have freelancing options and if you are good at these jobs, you know where to look out for. You can also think on selling items you have not been using since a long time. If you leave them untouched, they will be of no use but if you sell them off, it will surely reduce your discomfort for some time.

Cut Down Your Expenses
Make a list of your expenses and prioritize them. Avoid unnecessary expenditure and restrict yourself to unavoidable expenses. This will help you save money so that there is no shortfall at any point in time. Tough times call for tough decisions and hence, must be taken wisely.

Avoid Using Credit Cards
You might find it an attractive option to use your credit cards to meet your expenses. But it must be completely avoided simply because it will add to your debt, and even though you do not realize it at the time of swiping the card, the burden coming along will make your life miserable if you fail to get a regular source of income.

Take Time Off
You have always been working and working, and now that you have got some time off, try enjoying every bit of it. Take your "no-work" days in a positive way and relax. A peaceful mind will provide clarity and help you in dealing with the situation in a better way. A positive attitude with lots of confidence can land you on a much better and satisfying job.

Many people tend to withdraw money from retirement savings to cope with financial crunch after a layoff. This is an extremely wrong practice, as these savings are meant to support monetary needs after retirement. Using this money will be like playing with the future. If extreme need arises, may be a small portion can be used but definitely, not all. Layoffs can be quite depressing, but one must not panic and instead deal with the situation cleverly so that life does not get as difficult as it seems to be.